Sunday, 28 July 2013

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh Restaurant

Finally, it is my turn to try this famous restaurant in Chinatown. It's probably in every Vancouver tourist recommendation book, popular to both locals and tourists. I rarely ever venture into that area as it's rather sketchy to do so without some guardians. I followed my best friend and her mom Downtown after a morning church service and we needed to find lunch somewhere on the way. Phnom Penh is located very close to Main street so it was convenient for us to pop by. My best friend has been hailed the Queen of Chicken Wings, so it was a must to bring her here.

Phnom Penh's awards

We arrived at noon on a Sunday and were told to wait 20 minutes for a table. Good thing we arrived a tad bit earlier than the lunch crowd; by five minutes later people were told to wait half hour to 45 minutes for a table. Just by seeing all the proudly framed awards covering the wall and stickers on their entrance door, and the long line up of hungry customers, one would be curious to find out why they have been famous for so long. But is worth waiting to have a taste of their raved-about chicken wings? To put it simply, YES.

The size of the restaurant is decently large. There are a few large tables while most of restaurant consists of tables for four people. Very typical for a Chinese-run restaurant. The servers here spoke Cantonese to us, and they were all very patient and polite when we asked about their menu and for recommendations. I'm sure they're probably just used to have a bunch tourists pass through their restaurant every day. I probably should've done more researching on the dishes here but luckily we only had to feed three mouths. On a random note, my friend and I found 'Moo Moo Shake' quite amusing. The waiter described it as a 'slush' but it sounds more like a milkshake, haha!

Filet Beef Luc Lac with Egg on Rice

After reading reviews on Urbanspoon, I found that nearly everyone orders the Filet Beef Luc Lac on Rice. Of course, anything with a runny egg is better so we ordered #35. The beef is said to be melt-in-your-mouth tender. While I can't say it melted in my mouth, it was defiantly tender and well executed. The sauce is slightly sweet which is totally up my alley. The raw vegetables really help to balance out the heaviness of the dish. We all really enjoyed this dish, I understand why it's popular. It would make a great meal on it's own, we just had way too much food to finish it all. This plate could be two people's lunch. We packed half of it home to enjoy later. 

Dry Rice Noodles

Since we had a rice, we decided to order a noodle. I noticed many of the tables had this brown 'hor fun' (thick rice noodle) dish. We asked our waiter which noodle was most popular and he said #2. I'm pretty sure this isn't the dish I saw on other tables but it was still tasty. A large serving of pho noodles sits in a puddle of a soy sauce-based sauce. It's topped with two shrimp and a few types of pork. On the menu, it said there was 'pork innards', which none of us eat so we picked it out and set it aside. But we ate the pork slices and ground pork. Mix this all together to evenly distribute the sauce and toppings throughout the noodles and you've got yourself a delicious meal. It seems simple, but it does the trick. However I probably won't order this again since I believe there are other foods on their menu worth exploring.

Pork Bone Broth that comes with entree

Both 'entrees' came with a pork bone broth. I didn't taste this, but my best friend seemed to slurp up a bowl by herself. She packed the meat home for her doggy.

Queen of Chicken Wings angelically modeling Phnom Penh's famous wings

The chicken wings have come! There is not a single table that doesn't have a large plate of these on their table. Not exaggerating. I was surprised to find all three parts of the wing: mini drumstick, mid-wing, and wing point. My mom would've been delighted to find the wing points. I seemed to have eaten a lot of the mini drumsticks, they're quicker to consume since there's only one bone ;) And I'll gladly save the mid-bone for my best friend~ These chicken wings are meaty, juicy, fried to perfection and seasoned just right. There are bits of garlicy goodness in the mix. A lemon pepper sauce is served with these wings (not pictured in this post). It really helps to lighten up the heaviness of fried food and add two other complimenting flavours to the chicken wings. Be sure to gobble these up while they're still hot! Good thing they seem to retain their heat for quite some time. These were the best chicken wings I've ever had. I don't eat them often as they aren't very healthy, but these I will make exceptions for. They are so worth my daily caloric intake. Order a large size, might as well eat more wings than anything else when you're here.

Fried Oyster Cake
As if we didn't already have a ton of food for three people, my best friend's mom ordered an oyster pancake. Our waiter also recommended this. It is #72 Trieu Chau Oyster Cake. Very interesting way of spelling Chiu Chow.... It is a very large egg omelet packed with fresh oysters. For those that love oyster, this is filled with prominent flavour! But for those that don't (like my best friend), it's a nightmare to eat, haha! The pancake is thick and slightly gooey, I assume it's supposed to be like that. 

Once we placed our order, we were given a few types of sauces. This one photographed with the oyster cake is just one we thought accompanied the dish. There was also a fish sauce and a spicy chili paste, which are more generic and is like soy sauce given at Chinese restaurants. Pour it on anything to add more salt.

When I eat this, I think of Whistler. It's strange and I have no idea why an oyster pancake connects me to memories in Whistler. We ate all of this as it probably wouldn't taste good as leftovers. Phnom Penh did a very good job of making this traditional 'heurng ha' (hometown) dish.

My first experience at Phnom Penh was pretty good. I was very happy with most of the dishes we tried. The food comes out a tad slow for an Asian restaurant, one by one. This, in addition to slow diners, probably accounts for most of the wait at busy hours. So keep that in mind when paying for street parking.  

Most menu items like rice and noodle dishes are very cheap, only six or seven dollars for a large serving. The most expensive was probably the oyster pancake, about $15; it would be a good plate to share among a large table. The star of the meal was definitely the chicken wings; they are an absolute must at Phnom Penh. My best friend was all smiles coming out of the restaurant saying it was worth every second of the wait time. We were rather hangry (angry due to hunger) coming from church service and a long car ride to Downtown. Although I have no clue how to properly pronounce the restaurant's name, I will surely come back in the future!

Phnom Penh 金邊小館 on Urbanspoon

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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